During my discussion with my customer a very disturbing trend is emerging. Most of the customers today are going for a “Technical Upgrade” of their PLM system. Most of these PLM upgrades are pushed by the PLM ISVs.
With PLM ISVs coming out with newer versions much faster than before, they are retiring otherwise recent version (only few year old). Generally a PLM takes few years to settle down. And the moment it is settled down there is a push by ISV for upgrade of PLM. I think the organizations need to perform a detail audit of their PLM and understand what is the cost benefit of the upgrade. They should really evaluate the cost difference between maintaining an old version vis-a-vis cost of upgrade.
The cost of upgrade is not only the cost involved by the technical teams to upgrade. It also includes the cost of business disruption caused due changes to system, the user interface & also technical disruption.
When I talked of Technical Upgrade, technical upgrade is moving all the code base to newer release. May be changing it to suite new releases UI design. A technical upgrade for me adds a negative value to business. I feel the during the period when the first version was conceptualized and the point when the upgrade is happening, the business has moved on & changed face. So a upgrade should re-look at business as a whole. The upgrade should map the current requirements of business to PLM system, take this chance to correct something wrong with system or business. Take a upgrade also as a business transformation exercise.
A PLM upgrade should be more of a “Functional Upgrade“. Look at following aspects
1.Involve Business in Upgrade Decision. Should not be IT driven.
2. Perform a Audit of System and Business to map what is new
3. Retire as many customization possible
4. How people are using it. Can we set new methods?
Conclusion: It is very easy to fall into trap of a “Technical Upgrade”. Ask yourself a question why are you upgrading PLM system which is running fine? Is the objective just to ensure that your version is supported by ISV. Think Again? may be use the same money to upgrade with more purpose and look at it as a business transformation.
If you have any queries on how to do a functional upgrade, write us at ContactUs@plmindia.com